Article first published October 2012, updated April 2019
Our friends at Word to the Wise once shared a simple, yet sturdy tip: Name your subscriber lists like everyone can see them.
While this is a great idea from the perspective that your subscribers may, at some point, see the email list names they’re subscribed to, there are other, equally important reasons why you should adopt a subscriber list naming convention, or, at least, give these names a bit of thought.
With the recent introduction of team management to the app, it’s more likely than ever that folks other than yourself will be performing tasks in your account. What will these folks make of lists labelled “Survey,” “Opt-outs,” or simply “Subscriber list”?
Your Email List Names are More Important Than You Think
Read on to learn more about email distribution list naming conventions. We’ll also explain the importance of breaking up your email list with names and provide some examples.
Why should you care about the names of your business email lists?
Subscriber list names can provide context as to where subscribers are signing up from, as well as keep things organized.
For example, imagine you give a colleague admin rights to a client account while you’re on vacation. During that time, there’s a real uptick in overall signups and the client wants to know where they’re coming from. If this colleague isn’t familiar with the account, then having lists named “Client site’s Newsletter page” and “Oct webinar signups” has a lot less confusion-causing potential than “Web subscribers” and “Events.”
Putting in a good word for permission with email list names
Imagine someone on your team gives you a list of recipients to include in a monthly newsletter send. Immediately after this campaign goes out, a subscriber replies, wondering how they got on the list.
Being able to look at the email list with names and respond with, “It looks like you joined via our in-store signup form,” is far sounder, from a permission perspective, than, “Oh, but you’re on a list called September Signups!”
This is all fairly non-technical, and it’s likely that you, your colleagues, and clients consistently put effort into ensuring that list names accurately describe that list’s qualities. But, as is often the case in email marketing, the little things can make a big difference.
Why you should segment your subscribers into unique business email lists
Email distribution list naming conventions goes beyond just choosing a title; it involves categorizing your subscribers based on unique characteristics.
67% of customers expect personalized content based on information you’ve collected about them. Meanwhile, nearly half of people get frustrated or annoyed when brands send them generic content rather than unique information that directly relates to them.
Are you trying to segment your list but facing massive information gaps? Send out emails like this one from Topshop asking subscribers to provide information.
Examples of email list names and segmentation ideas
Get a good understanding of your audience and choose your path from there (just remember to keep your list names respectful).
“Our Biggest Fans”
To get started with segmentation, divide your list into groups based on email campaign engagement. Your “biggest fans” are subscribers who consistently open and interact with your emails.
Consider naming your inactive subscribers something generic like “general subscriber list” that gets the point across without calling them “weak links” or “duds.”
Breaking your subscriber list into different demographics, such as age, is a great way to provide personalized content. However, the list names can end up less than flattering.
No one wants to be on a list called “old ladies” or even “senior women,” but email list names like “cool grandmas” will probably reverberate pretty well.
All kinds of brands can benefit from segmenting their list based on geolocations.
For national or international e-commerce websites, this type of segmentation is essential. However, even local brick-and-mortar brands can divide their subscribers based on hyper-specific neighborhoods or regions. Just think of how useful this information could be when it comes time to open and promote a new storefront.
“Nutrition Guide eBook Signups”
At some point, a subscriber is likely to forget that they gave you their email address and get angry that you’re sending them emails. This happens to everyone.
When it does happen, you want to answer them as specifically as possible. With the new GDPR regulations, failure to prove that they gave you permission to contact them could mean hefty lawsuits or damage to your brand’s reputation.
Most marketers don’t give email list names a second thought because they’re for personal reference and not much else. Still, it’s a good idea to name your business email lists as if the whole world can see them. Not only will this help you avoid embarrassment if a subscriber sees the list name, but it will also help you segment your list into useful groups for sending personalized emails.
Are you ready to learn more about sending personalized campaigns to different segments of your audience? Check out our in-depth guide on segmentation to get started.